Visitors at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Saturday experienced more adventure than they paid for at the ticket booth when a 2-year-old boy fell 10 to 12 feet into the cheetah exhibit after his mother is said to have dangled him over the railing before he was dropped.
Now, ABC News reports that the Cleveland Zoo is planning to press charges against the parents of the child.
Christopher Kuhar, executive director of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, told WEWS-TV, “Unfortunately, we have a number of eyewitness accounts that point to the strong likelihood that the child was dangled over the railing.”
In light of the circumstances, the zoo plans to file child endangerment charges Monday against the parents — a first degree misdemeanor.
Witnesses say the mother was trying to hold two children in her arms when she lost her grip on the 2-year-old, who then plummeted into the cheetah pit.
“That information has been provided to the prosecutor, who will determine any further action,” Kuhar tells WEWS-TV.
The New York Daily News reveals that an adult male who was with the boy jumped down into the cheetah exhibit in order to rescue him. Thankfully, none of the cheetahs attempted to charge or attack either the child or his parents.
This could have become a fatal day at the zoo, and it is scary when you realize that cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animal and their long, sharp claws never retract, making their prey completely vulnerable.
Witness Michael Lurie recalls the moments to WEWS-TV.
“You could just hear the screams and all you could see was the adult that jumped in and got the kid. Then somebody pulled him out.”
The adult was able to get the child out of the exhibit, and he was immediately taken via Cleveland EMS to the MetroHealth Medical Center. His is reportedly in stable condition, only suffering a leg injury from his fall.
The Inquisitr previously reported Lurie as stating he “couldn’t understand how the parents let the kid go over the thing,” and went on to say that the incident was disturbing for all who witnessed it.
The Cleveland Zoo closed the cheetah exhibit immediately after the incident and it remained closed for the rest of the day. The cheetahs showed no sign of distress and rested peacefully in a cave inside the exhibit.
[Photo Credit: NYDailyNews.com]